Moffat County takes 6th at state

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Moffat County cross country at State

Jarrett Johnson 18:30

Brenna Ciesco 20:32

Eryn Leonard 20:34

Aubrey Campbell 22:22

Katelyn Peroulis 22:36

Savannah Williams 22:57

Bailey Hellander 23:18

It may not have ended with the glory the Bulldogs were looking for, but this was a successful cross-country season nonetheless.

Moffat County ran in the 3A Colorado State Cross Country Championships on Saturday at the Norris Penrose Events Center in Colorado Springs. The girls team, which was expecting to be a contender for the top spots at the meet, ran well, but placed sixth.

As expected, the meet was a logjam at the top of the standings. Holy Family High School was crowned champion, scoring 84 points. The spread to sixth place, where Moffat County finished, was just 32 points.

The Bulldogs’ average finishing time was just four seconds slower than Holy Family’s, but the champions’ third and fourth runners would prove to be the difference, placing high enough to produce the victory.

Head coach Todd Trapp put the year in perspective, however.

“No matter what when you go to a state meet you know it’s going to be very competitive,” he said. “The kids made huge gains all year. Maybe it isn’t quite what we expected, we wanted to finish a bit higher, but you think about sixth in 3A overall. There’s a lot of teams in 3A, so for us to be at the top of that, that’s pretty good.

“You can’t be upset about being sixth place.”

Moffat County were led by their top duo all season, Brenna Ciesco and Eryn Leonard. They placed eighth and ninth in the race, respectively, and gave the Bulldogs a strong top two.

“I thought to have one in the top ten would be great,” Trapp said. “Both of those girls had amazing races, they were competitive and put themselves in great position early and were strong throughout.”

Aubrey Campbell (47th) and Katelyn Peroulis (52nd) also scored for the Bulldogs, while Savannah Williams and Bailey Hellander rounded out the state team. Peroulis had been running in the fifth or sixth slot in recent weeks, but stepped up and ran a tough race at her first state meet.

“Katelyn, she’s been very strong for us this year,” Trapp said. “She had a good race. Everyone has had so many improved races.”

Jarrett Johnson also was running as an individual from the boys team. In his first state meet, the sophomore finished in 18:30, good enough for 36th place. Trapp now will look for Johnson to improve during the next year and come back hungry for a spot closer to the top.

“We were really excited for him and his finish,” Trapp said. “Going in, we wanted him to get some experience. I told him going into the meet if he could be in the top 40, that would be really a great spot. It’s important to gain that experience; he really came on strong toward the end of the year.”

With another season in the books, Trapp knows he will be losing some of his best runners to graduation. Leonard, Williams and Hellander are all seniors. But he will also be looking forward to bringing back plenty of good underclassmen, now with more experience.

“On our varsity, we lose three valuable seniors,” he added. “They will be missed. We also have a large number of returners. That’s what you look for. You want to have seniors on your team, but you also like to have a lot coming back.”

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow Craig Daily Press sports coverage on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

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